Tools & Materials

ESSENTIAL TOOLS

There are some implements witches simply cannot live without and quite a few more they may just like to have, although your spells and rituals will still work even if you use the bare basics. The required tools vary from spell to spell. There are a few rituals that don’t require any implements at all, but for most, a selection of candles and herbs is generally kept close at hand, as well as tools such as the pentagram (to represent the five elements), crystals (to energize the area), and salt (to sanctify the space).

THE ALTAR

A base to work on, called an altar, is highly recommended. You should create your own altar and personalize it to your taste with whatever charms and objects speak to you. Some witches born under a fire or earth sign prefer to cast their spells directly on natural wood, while others like covering their altars in cloth. If you do opt for a cloth, the best color to use is lavender or deep purple, thought to be the most positive color to attract spiritual fulfillment. It is also associated with chakra balancing and healing. If an item’s position on an altar is not specified in the following list, then just place it in a spot you feel comfortable with. Except for certain items, modern witchcraft is quite flexible about the arrangement of the tools on the altar.

THE PENTACLE

One of the most essential items a witch uses when casting spells is the symbol of a five-pointed star, known as a pentacle or pentagram. The five points of the star represent the five elements: spirit is the topmost point, and the other points, moving in a clockwise direction, are water, fire, earth, and air. When casting spells, it is always best to have this symbol on your person or somewhere on your altar. You can either draw a simple pentagram, or–if you are an artistic soul–create a more ornate centerpiece with painted glass or something similar. As you set up your altar, place the pentacle directly in the center so that you can arrange the other items all around it. The size of the star doesn’t matter in the slighted. Whatever kind of pentagram you choose to use, you should first “charge” it. This is a straightforward procedure that will cleanse and bless the pentagram and imbue it with magical energy. The best way to do this is to leave your pentagram outside overnight in your garden or on your front porch or window ledge during a full moon phase. You can also charge other tools, such as crystals and talismans, this way to give them extra potency. Once the pentagram is charged and placed in the center of the altar, it will ward off negativity and act as your source of protection.

CANDLES

Candles represent the elements fire and air. Fire is a powerful element, so when a spell is recited over a lit candle, the message is transported to the universe much more forcefully and the desire directed back to us in due course. In Wiccan circles, this is called candle magick or a candle ritual. I just call it a candle spell. Most spells will include a candle or two, or even more, so always have a selection of different colors at hand. Traditionally, you start with one main white candle on the altar (usually centered toward the back) to neutralize the energies. There is no need to inscribe or anoint this candle, but blessing it with water is a good idea. To do this, dip your fingers into some bottled water and run them over the candle while saying, “This candle is now cleansed and blessed.” Dry the candles with a cloth from the altar or with paper towels. Each candle color has its own significance and therefore tends to work better for a particular problem:

AMBER: Witch symbol, developing witchcraft skills, empowerment.

ORANGE: The God (ritual candle), strength, healing, attracting things, vitality, adaptability, luck encouragement, clearing the mind, dominance, justice, career goals, legal matters, selling, action, property deals, ambition, general success. Healing, for both the mind and the body. Self-confidence and self-esteem. Fathers who may need a little help with parenting. Communication. Education. Finding lost property. Improving writing skills.

YELLOW: Air Elemental, divination, clairvoyance, mental alertness, intellect, memory, prosperity, learning, changes, harmony, creativity, self-promotion. Healing, for both the mind and the body. Self-confidence and self-esteem. Fathers who may need a little help with parenting. Communication. Education. Finding lost property. Improving writing skills.

SILVER: The Goddess, Lunar magics, meditation, psychic development, success, balance, wards negativity, astral skills. Increasing psychic abilities. Issues that have to do with home and family. Women, pregnancy, and motherhood. Safe travels.

BLUE (general): Increasing psychic abilities. Issues that have to do with home and family. Women, pregnancy, and motherhood. Safe travels.

BLUE (dark): the Goddess (ritual candle), Water Elemental, impulse, truth, dreams, protection, change, meditation.

BLUE (light): psychic awareness, intuition, opportunity, understanding, quests, safe journey, patience, tranquility, ward depression, health.

INDIGO: meditation, spirit communication, Karma workings, learn ancient wisdom, neutralize baneful magic, ward slander.

RED: Fire Elemental, strength, power, energy, health, vigor, enthusiasm, courage, passion, sexuality, vibrancy, survival, driving force, blood of the Moon. Confidence and courage. Increasing sexual energy. Arousing passion. Protection against being attacked; protection against rapists and domestic violence.

PURPLE: Power, Spirit, spiritual development, intuition, ambition, healing, wisdom, progress, business, spirit communication, protection, occultism, self-assurance, influence higher-ups. Protection in general. House blessings. Invoking spirits. Business and work issues. New jobs.

VIOLET: self-improvement, intuition, success in searches.

LAVENDER: spiritual development, psychic growth, divination, Otherworld.

PINK: Honor, morality, friendships, emotional love, social ability, goodwill, caring, healing emotions, peace, affection, nurturing, romance, partnership. Encouraging romance and attracting love. Creating harmony in relationship and marriage. Enhancing beauty to appear more physically attractive. Improving musical talents.

GREEN: Forests, Earth Elemental, herb magics, nature magics (i.e. garden blessings), luck, fertility, healing, balance, courage, work, prosperity, agriculture, changing direction or attitude. Successfully managing wealth and money. Nature and garden spells. Passing driving tests. Success and achievements.

GREENISH YELLOW: discord, sickness, anger, jealousy (to negate these).

BROWN: Earth riches, endurance, animal health, steadiness, houses / home, physical objects, uncertainties, special favors, influence friendships. Banishing evil. Stopping harassment or bullying. For a swift transition when moving house. Strengthening self-discipline, such as when dieting or stopping smoking.

COPPER: money goals, professional growth, career maneuvers, passion, business fertility, energy movement.

GOLD: the God, solar magics, solar energy, power, achievement, physical strength, success, skills sought, mental growth, healing energy, intuition, wealth, divination, safety, winning, power, happiness, playful humor.

GRAY: Otherworld travel, vision quests, veiling, neutralizing.

BLACK: Protection, ward negativity, remove hexes, spirit contact, night, the universe, truth, remove discord or confusion, binding for spellwork. Banishing evil. Stopping harassment or bullying. For a swift transition when moving house. Strengthening self-discipline, such as when dieting or stopping smoking.

RAINBOW: variegated colors, inner development by relaxation and introspection.

WHITE: The union of the male and female aspects of the Divine (ritual candle), moon magics, Esbats, full moon magics, purity, protection, truth, meditation, peace, sincerity, justice, ward doubt / fear. White candles can be used for anything at all, as white is a neutral color. You can replace any color candle with white if you don’t know what color is the best for a specific spell.

Preparing your candle:
Before you cast any spell with a candle, it is important to prepare the candle first. To begin, cleanse it by wiping it with a clean damp cloth to wash away unwanted energy. Take a sharp knife or pin and inscribe your desires into the wax. Anointing the candle by dipping your finger into a tiny drop of oil (witches experienced in essential oils might use a special type such as citronella or lavender, but common vegetable oil works fine for beginners) and run it around the base of the candle. Now it is time for the words of your spell, otherwise known as the incantation.

Opening a spell:
A good way to begin a spell is by doing something we call casting a circle. Once you have all the items you need on your altar, take hold of either a quartz crystal or your wand in your right hand and stand quietly in front of your workspace for a moment. Wave the crystal or wand over your objects, making the shape of a large circle in the air to enclose all of the magic inside the circle and keep out anything negative. There is no need to say anything at this point. If this is done in silence, it enhances the ritual without adding any confusing elements. You can cast a circle either before or after you light the candle, but it is best to light the candle after you cast the circle so you don’t risk setting your clothes on fire. Once your candle is prepared, you light it and speak the incantation you inscribed on it, repeating the words seven times. You can write anything you want on a candle, but beginning the incantation with “I desire” holds a magic all its own.

INCENSE

Burning incense while a spell is in progress is an absolute must. Its magical properties help create the perfect atmosphere and boost any spell’s potency. If you have trouble finding the right one for your spell, simply burn sage to cleanse your work space.

BASIL: An aromatic scent used for attracting wealth and prosperity, and in fertility rituals. Plant basil by your front door to draw wealth.

EUCALYPTUS: Centers and balances emotions, excellent for helping make decisions.

FRANKINCENSE: A wonderful spiritual disinfectant. Can be used generally with any health spells. If you are trying to ward off coughs and colds, burn it in a different room from where the patient is sitting to avoid irritation from the smoke.

OPIUM: Induces sleep and invigorates your psychic senses.

SAGE: Used as a smudging stick or burned as incense, cleanses your space in preparation for a spell. Its magic automatically dispels any negative energy.

SANDALWOOD: A warm, gentle, woody fragrance to relax you and ease distress.

YLANG-YLANG: A sweet and heady perfume that enhances any love spell. Use for attracting new love, harmonizing marriages, and healing impotency problems.

SOIL AND WATER

These substances symbolize the natural elements of earth and water and bring balance and harmony to your work space. A small bowl or an egg cup of garden soil should sit to one side of the pentagram, and the water–in a similar vessel or chalice–should sit on the other side.

SALT

Salt is a fantastic source of protection and is used in many spells to banish anything evil. Either sprinkle a little sea salt over your altar cloth or put some on the altar in a small bowl.

OPTIONAL TOOLS

CHALICE: Symbolizes fertility; in times past, its bowl represented the womb of the goddess, the base signified our world as we know it, and the stem suggested human rapport with the spirits. Can be used to hold magical water, but for casting spells to help someone get pregnant, fill it with fresh basil leaves instead. Used during Sabbat rituals during Cakes & Ale for wine or mead. (I use Mogen David, not a “good” wine.)

CAULDRON: Probably the most recognizable symbol of witchcraft after the broomstick, today, the cauldron can be used as a vessel for making infusions and potions (although a microwave can be used just as easily for many such spells). For spells that involve burning herbs, or to store herbs, the cauldron is still a useful object.

BELL: Used primarily in banishment spells, a bell can be rung to indicate that a spell is about to begin or tinkled repeatedly around the home to get rid of unwanted vibrations. It really can settle down a bad atmosphere and leave a place feeling calm again.

ATHAME: A ceremonial knife, typically black handled with a doubled-edged blade. Some witches inscribe their candles with their athames or use it to cast a magical circle around the altar before commencing a spell. To cast a magical circle, hold the knife in your right hand and draw a circle clockwise over the altar, a few inches above the items on it. An athame works by conducting your power through it, and it is to be used only for magical purposed (and ideally not for cutting; that would be reserved for the bolline).

WAND: A witch wouldn’t be a witch without a wand. By tradition, wands are usually crafted from the wood of the willow, elder, apple, or cherry tree. Today you can easily buy a wand online or in a specialty store, but the real magic in a wand is channeled into it by its maker, so, if possible, try making your own. You can craft it from any tree branch that you feel an affinity for, and you should always thank the tree for sharing its wood with you. Wands come in many shapes and sizes; the width is not that important, but the length of the wand should measure from your elbow to the tip of your index finger. You can carve designs into the wood or smooth it down with sandpaper before finally varnishing it and then charging it in the same way you would a pentagram. Make your wand as ornate or rustic as you like. For spellcasting purposes, the wand is used as a summoning tool and also to bless and charge objects. Before a ritual begins, you can touch each object on your altar with the end of your wand to transfer its natural earthly energy to the items and add a little extra magic. Some witches like to “draw down the moon” prior to casting a spell. This is a very old tradition that involves standing outside during a full moon phases and pointing the wand at the moon. It is thought that the moon’s power charges the wand, making its magic more powerful.

BROOMSTICK: In witchy circles, the round-bottom broomstick, or besom, as it is more commonly known, is actually a fertility symbol, long used by female witches in fertility rites and to sweep away negativity. The brush corresponds to the female genitalia, and the staff is associated with the phallus, therefore it is a symbol of the male / female combined. Often a besom was propped up near a hearth to keep evil energy from entering through the chimney. Some modern witches still follow this practice, but many just display the besom as a Wiccan home decoration and embellish it with pretty flowers and dried herbs. Of course, besoms always were and still are popular at handfastings, where couples jump over the broom to display their union.

CRYSTALS AND GEMSTONES

Crystals possess a pure, natural magic. These are not just worn as jewelry, but often placed on our altars to support a spell. You can use any size crystal or stone; the results will be the same. Make sure to wash your crystals once a week or so. Crystals can absorb energies around them, so just as we need to wash to stay clean, you need to wash your crystals. You can put them in the bath with you.\ (to be cleansed of external energies and infused with yours) or simply soak them in a bowl of water. When the crystals are not in use, be sure to respect them. Keep them in a special velvet-lined box or some other luxurious container. Following are the nine most common stones that witches tend to use on a daily basis:

AMETHYST: This lavender-purple crystal has a gentle vibration and can be used for healing or to help calm stress and nerves. Amethyst can be placed near the stressed or ailing person or worn next to the skin. After the crystal has been worn for a week, rinse the stone in tepid water every evening for seven days and then let dry overnight. When the healing process is done, leave the crystal overnight in the garden on a full or new moon to recharge it.

CITRINE: The “cuddle quartz,” as it is often called, carries the colors and energies of the sun. It is a harmonizing stone that can make you feel at peace with the world. If you are lonely, hold a piece of citrine and feel the energy of love come into your soul. If you are angry with someone and want to vent your spleen, then citrine will calm you. This is the stone of abundance, good luck, and inspiration, so when witches want a bit more money energy, they use citrine along with money spells.

HEMATITE: This shiny black, slate-gray, or silvery-red mineral is used for safety during astral travel and to ground you once your spirit returns to your body. This crystal is very good for people with circulatory problems or anemia. It’s also excellent for memory and mental stimulation, so witches wear hematite while performing spells that may be difficult or lengthy. If you were a witch in a previous life, by wearing hematite you might be able to tap into a previous existence and drum up some of the old spells and potions you used in the past.

LAPIS LAZULI: This rich blue stone has been treasured throughout history and is still held in high esteem by witches; we are very respectful of its powerful energy. It wards off negative vibrations and, if worn at bedtime, can bring vivid dreams of other lives and links to soul mates who may not have reincarnated at the same time. Lapis lazuli alleviates migraines and problems with the throat, and it helps with ear infections, too. But its main effect is to bring you knowledge of other worlds. If you are seeking to enhance your psychic abilities, always wear this stone in jewelry form, and your insight will naturally develop.

MOLDAVITE: Although there is no absolute proof, this rare and precious glass gem, bottle green in color, is thought to be extraterrestrial, formed from a meteorite impact. Because there is only a small, finite source of moldavite in Central Europe, it is sought after and rather expensive to purchase. You will have to be very grounded to wear this stone, because its power can easily overwhelm sensitive individuals. You can use moldavite to enhance psychic ability or to connect with your guides in dreams.

MOONSTONE: Connected to the moon and its lunar phases, moonstone is a very mystical crystal. It has depth and translucency and is used to encourage premonitions during dreams. When you practice divination, you can wear moonstone earrings and rings to increase your psychic powers. This is a very feminine crystal, and female hormones. It can also be useful to help restore anyone who has gone into shock, or simply to calm volatile energies.

QUARTZ (CLEAR): Quartz, one of the most common minerals on Earth, is considered an essential part of any witch’s crystal collection. It is a multipurpose stone that can be included in almost any spell to bring about a positive result. Quartz is wonderful for balancing emotions, especially if you are trying to heal painful feelings or if you have problems with self-esteem. This crystal amplifies magical wishes and will bring extra power to any spell. Use it to tap into higher consciousness and to keep in touch with your spiritual side.

ROSE QUARTZ: Pale pink and related to all things romantic, rose quartz sweetens one’s mood and brings calming influence to jittery brides and grooms. Witches use it to attract a beloved to themselves in spellcraft. When a witch is handfasted, she often carries a wand with a piece of this stone attached somewhere on the tip.

TURQUOISE: Turquoise is used mainly to ward off the evil eye or to protect yourself from negative people or influences. If you feel threatened in any way, use turquoise as an amulet. It can also purify the air and clear out the heavy spiritual clutter. Turquoise is good to use if you have moved into a new home, to balance the energies and clear any negativity left behind by the previous inhabitants. It can also be carried as a protective amulet when traveling.

HERB POUCHES, MOJO BAGS, & WISH BOXES: Creating pouches and wish boxes is a lovely way of weaving magic to get your heart’s desire. When you combine lots of objects and then cast a spell over them, you are merging their collective powers and bringing about a more intense ritual. Boxes and pouches are traditionally filled with herbs or spices. Many herbs and spices have unique magical properties and, when used in conjunction with a spell, can make the ritual more effective and potent. To make sure you always know the right substances to use, it’s important to keep a list of them and their influences in your Book of Shadows. You’ll find a list of the most commonly used herbs and spices in magic below. Fresh herbs are best, but the dried varieties are acceptable if fresh is not available. When concoctions call for more than one element, you can add to their efficacy by mixing them together before you put them in their container. When you create any magical box, it’s essential that you write down exactly what you want on a piece of clean white paper. For instance, if you wanted to give a wish box to a newly-married couple, you’d write something like, “I desire for this union to be filled with happiness, love, and longevity. So mote it be.” Fold the paper in half (toward you to draw, away from you to banish), then in half again, and place it inside the box or pouch. It doesn’t matter if you leave your herbs in original form or chop them. Just place your selection of herbs inside the box along with the folded paper and close the lid. If you are using a pouch, tie it up securely with ribbon or drawstring. Once your box or pouch is filled and sealed, it is important that you charge its contents. On a clear night (making sure to avoid the dark of the moon), leave the box or sachet outside to soak up the moon’s rays. The next morning, bring it inside and place it on your altar. Light a white candle and say this invocation nine times:

My magical package is charged by the moon,
The wishes will be granted soon

Leave the candle to burn for an hour (supervised) before extinguishing it (always use a snuffer; blowing out candles offends the Elementals). Then put your box in a safe place, or hang your pouch or carry it around with you. Once your wish has been granted, there is no need to discard your box or pouch. You can use it again in the future.

ANGELICA ROOT: Wonderful for summoning {angels} and asking for protection. Hang a pouch of this in the kitchen to bless your home.

BASIL: If you are trying to get pregnant, hang a bunch of this above the bed and make love under it every night for two weeks. Basil is also commonly used in conjunction with money rituals to help boost income.

BAY: Take a handful of bay leaves and place them inside a wish box to remove curses. You can also sleep with a bay pouch under your pillow to facilitate lucid dreaming. Write your desire on a leaf of bay and burn it in the candle flame to be granted that desire.

CATNIP: Carry catnip in your purse to attract love and popularity or to be safe when you are traveling. Witches often give catnip to their friends as a way of sealing the friendship and making sure it is long lasting.

CHAMOMILE: If you or a loved one suffers from bad dreams or insomnia, or to help children sleep through the night, sprinkle a small amount of chamomile over the bedroom floor. This will induce sleep and make sure the dreams are sweet.

CHIVES: Tie a bunch of chives high above the front door to keep out unwanted spirits, or chop some finely with a knife and place them in a pouch to banish someone who is negative or harmful from your life.

CINNAMON BARK OR POWDER: A very powerful herb, cinnamon is fantastic for increasing your psychic ability or helping with healing spells. To attract wealth, carry one stick or a tiny pouch or powder in your wallet.

CLOVES: If you are grieving, cloves will bring comfort to you. For help attracting Mr. or Mrs. Right, push twenty whole cloves into a whole orange and pop it inside a wish box.

COMFREY LEAF: Chop up fresh comfrey leaves for protection during travel; it may help the purse strings, too. Good to use in a spell for settling down emotions after times of stress or for securing a new job.

DANDELION ROOT OR LEAF: Dandelion has so many uses, it’s impossible to list them all. For health and wellbeing, separate the petals from a few flowers and carry them on your person for a week. To summon the spirits and help with divination, take the root and place it in your wish box.

DILL: When a baby is born, fill a pouch with freshly chopped dill and hang it above the nursery door. This will ensure that the child is protected and that he or she will grow up to succeed academically. Mix with lavender and elder flowers to attract romance.

ECHINACEA: Brilliant for keeping away colds and flu, so use in all healing spells for a little extra zing. Echinacea flowers can be used in a pouch to enhance meditation or scattered on the altar for money rituals.

ELDERBERRIES & ELDERFLOWERS: Fill a pretty pouch with dried elderflower and give it to a bride on her wedding day to make sure she remains protected and happy in her marriage. Elder is great for any romantic purpose, and works beautifully is used along with rose petals.

EUCALYPTUS LEAF: If the house has a heavy feel about it, or if the kids are constantly bickering, use eucalyptus leaves to calm down the disruptive energies. It’s also excellent when used alongside sage to ward off illness.

FEVERFEW: This herb is renowned for getting rid of headaches, but it is also beneficial for clearing your head if you have decisions to make. The best magical feverfew is grown outside, but be warned: plant it in a pot, for it can spread rapidly if left unrestrained in your garden.

GARLIC: I doubt you will be associating with vampires, but should you come across one, garlic works as a great source of protection. Hang the bulbs in doorways to ward off evil or put garlic salt in pouches and sachets to keep away bad vibrations.

HEATHER: Heather is a very lucky herb to have in the home, and when it is hung in a window it is said to bring good fortune to the people who live there. If you feel unsafe, or if you want to try something risky like bungee jumping or sky diving, carry a few sprigs on you and you’ll automatically have protection.

LAVENDER: Lavender is incorporated a lot in spell casting and has many uses; the main one is to bring a sense of calm to situations and to promote peaceful sleep. To attract a partner, carry some lavender and a piece of amethyst crystal together. They complement each other and enhance any love spell.

MANDRAKE ROOT: The mandrake root has been considered a powerful talisman since Biblical times. It has long been used in witchcraft to guard against any kind of misfortune. If you have had a run of bad luck, hang a pouch of mandrake in the living area of your home and it will absorb the negativity, leaving everything neutral again. If placed on your altar, the root will enhance your magical workings and give your spells more power.

MINT: Spirits are thought to love the smell of mint, so to encourage them into your life, grow mint in the garden and cut a few bunches every now and then to bring into the house.

MISTLETOE: Traditionally, mistletoe was used for encouraging love and fertility, but it has other qualities, too. To distance yourself from annoying people, separate the berries from the stem and dry them before placing them in a wish box or sachet. Also works in warding off illness.

MUGWORT: Mugwort can be used in nearly every spell, because it boosts the spell’s performance and adds a bit of extra clout. Best used for scrying, divination, and prophetic dreams.

NETTLE: If your house is haunted, nettles will drive out unwanted spirits or deflect any curses. Carefully mix nettle with mandrake to make it more powerful–but wear gloves, because nettles do sting if they come into contact with skin.

OAK BARK: For extra physical or emotional strength. Use a small piece of bark in a pouch or a box to raise your energy level, and put a spring back in your step.

POPPY SEEDS: These are great for love and fertility spells, and perfect for pouches. During a full moon phase, take about a teaspoon of packaged poppy seeds and put then in a sachet with a teaspoon of catnip.

ROSEMARY: Probably one of the most widely used herbs in Wicca, rosemary is good for the soul and is treated as a powerful cleanser. Use it for house blessings or mix it with mint to prepare a magical space for a spell.

SAGE: This herb promotes wisdom and knowledge, so it is helpful to use when you have an examination or a driving test coming up. Native Americans use smudge sticks made of white sage to purify their environments, and witches have adopted this method of clearing away bad vibes. White or common sage can be used.

ST. JOHN’S WORT: Magically speaking, this herb is a wonderful protection against fire. Banish ghosts and demons by hanging a pouch in a high spot in the house. It also promotes psychic vision and helps you foretell the future.

VALERIAN: Fresh valerian is not easy to get hold of, but you can buy it online. In some countries, valerian is available only in powdered root form, sold in capsules in health food stores; you can use this as an alternative if the leaves are hard to come by. Placed in a wish box, valerian can ease tension and arguments. Animal spells benefit from valerian too, so if you need to do a pet spell, put some valerian on your altar.

VERVAIN: Get your wallet bursting with cash by carrying vervain in a sachet. It is also good for building up a business or seeking a promotion or new job.

 

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